Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Monthly Report from the Director
Scott R. Isaacks, FACHE
Medical Center Director
Million Veteran Program Ceremony
Wednesday, Feb. 1, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
VAMC Front Lobby
Go Red for Women Event
Friday, Feb. 3, 8 - 11 a.m.
VAMC Main Auditorium
So far, 2017 is off to a phenomenal start and we here at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center are excited to spend another year in service to our local heroes. It is our daily privilege to honor our Veteran patients with first-class health care and services. Earlier this month, we received word that Pfc. Ralph H. Johnson, our hospital’s namesake, would be further honored in another incredible way – with the announcement that the commissioning ceremony for the new Navy destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), also named for him, would take place right here in Charleston, South Carolina, Pfc. Johnson’s hometown. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus made the official announcement on Jan. 11, a day that would have marked Johnson’s 68th birthday.
Employees and Veterans here at the medical center celebrated the special day with birthday cake and public recognition of the truly wonderful gift bestowed upon Johnson, his family, our medical center and community. While a date for the commissioning has not yet been set, preparations for this remarkable occasion are already underway through our hospital’s collaboration with the Charleston Council of the Navy League, U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Johnson’s extended family, many of whom still reside in the Charleston area. I was honored to attend the christening ceremony for the USS Ralph Johnson, which took place in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on Dec. 12, 2015, alongside Pfc. Johnson’s sister and Charleston VA volunteer, Helen Richards. And I can safely say that I am even more excited and humbled to soon have the opportunity to witness the commissioning of this great new addition to the Navy fleet right here in the Lowcountry.
As we work to recognize and celebrate our Veterans, in both big ways and small, we are also careful to remain vigilant and ever mindful that there is room, always, for improvement within our health care system. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with you – our Veterans – in making this medical center the best in can possibly be. To that end, I ask you to engage with us. Let us know how we’re doing and what we can improve upon. Your feedback is truly invaluable and we take each note, letter to the editor of a local newspaper, and interaction via social media, whether they are positive or negative, very seriously – addressing concerns as they come to our attention. It is my personal wish – and that of my staff – that your experiences here at your Charleston VA are nothing short of exemplary. You can help us strive toward this goal by responding honestly to surveys that may be mailed to your home following an appointment. We depend on your truthful assessments of your care and these surveys help us to address areas needing improvement while also acknowledging a job well done. If you’ve received outstanding care, please consider passing this along to your fellow Veterans. Word of mouth is a powerful way to influence other Veterans to come to us for the health care and services they’ve earned and deserve. Thank you in advance for sharing your opinions and ideas with us.
I’d also like you to share the gift of good health with the women in your life. Early next month, Charleston VAMC will hold its annual Go Red for Women event on Friday, Feb. 3, from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. in our Main Auditorium. This event is part of our medical center’s efforts to raise awareness of heart disease among women. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. The disease causes one in three women’s deaths each year – claiming the life of approximately one woman each minute. Many of these deaths are preventable through proper health care and healthy lifestyle changes and even one life lost is one too many. The Go Red for Women event will feature many of the outstanding programs we have here at Charleston VAMC that can help reduce the risk of heart disease among our female Veterans and their families and friends. Programs like, the Women’s Health Program, smoking cessation, MOVE! for weight loss, nutrition, pharmacy, interventional cardiology and many more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to get free blood pressure screenings and flu shots and will enjoy presentations on exercise, heart healthy nutrition, and stress management. I look forward to seeing all of you at this very worthwhile and informative event. Remember to wear RED!
With gratitude and respect,
Scott R. Isaacks